Now reaching its third anniversary, Mixins Rolled Ice Cream is set to expand after opening a second location in the spring and aiming to franchise in 2022.
The business was founded by Vandra Caldwell and Trishonna Helm, two business owners in their mid-20s that had the idea after Helm’s trip to Los Angeles three years ago. She was visiting the city and tried rolled ice cream for the first time, then posted a photo to her Snapchat story. Caldwell saw the story, was interested in where the ice cream was from, and once the two women connected, the rest was history. They knew they wanted to bring rolled ice cream to the Midwest.
Rolled ice cream is literally just that: rolled. It is different than the traditional spoonfuls that are found in many other ice cream shops around the country. Mixins Rolled Ice Cream flavors are homemade and rolled out on super-chilled flat tops for their customers in a variety of different sweet and savory flavors that range from key lime pie, strawberry cheesecake, and all sorts of other flavors in between.
In August, Mixins Rolled Ice Cream marked its third year of business operations. When Helm and Caldwell first started out, they put in 16-hours a day, side by side, for three months straight. Their goal was to create a company that was going to be an asset to the community that sparked joy and brought people together. After beginning with just five staff members and realizing that this was not enough to keep up with the demand for their products, the company now has two locations, 1405 Jackson St. in downtown Omaha and 2821 S. 108th St. in Rockbrook Village. During the winter, there are fluctuations in staff due to demand and the colder temperatures outside, but when summertime weather is at its hottest, they employ up to 40 people total.
The team also works with marketing specialists, social media managers, and a business consultant to help increase brand awareness and cultivate a bigger following.
When asked why Mixins Rolled Ice Cream has become a popular addition
to the Omaha area, Caldwell said, “The product is high quality and completely different from anything around. As owners, we uphold a positive persona and are well known in the community. Omaha loves to rally around us to show support.”
Unique flavors are also what keeps people coming back for more.
Menu items range in flavors from “Matcha Madness,” which includes matcha Pocky sticks, a fortune cookie and mochi, to “112,” a mix of peaches, graham crackers and cinnamon drizzle on top of the rolled ice cream.
“What makes our company stand apart is that it is continuously ‘cutting edge,’” Caldwell said. “We take risks with our flavors and merchandise. Our slogan is ‘More than ice cream, it’s a lifestyle.’ We live this slogan every day as we continue trend-stacking with all of our products. The apparel also remains upbeat, streetwear, and trendy.”
Mixins recently added “ice cream sickles” to the menu and is known for spelling names out in ice cream for their customers.
When the pandemic hit, sweet treats were the go-to recipe that hit the spot for many people dealing with stress and the chaos happening around the world. While there have been staff shortages this summer and now moving into the fall months, Caldwell said that overall, business has been steady.
“With business comes plenty of challenges and many unforeseen circumstances,” she said. “We’ve grown over the years, steadily improving costs of goods, payroll percentages, balancing inventory, building culture amongst our walls, and expanding overall. Surprisingly, Covid has impacted our industry very minimally, as people use ice cream to help cope during these trying times. We consider ourselves a comfort food and this is what keeps our customers coming back.”
Looking ahead, Mixins Rolled Ice Cream has a vision that is already coming to fruition. Helm and Caldwell are planning on bringing plenty of delicious rolls to young and old alike across the country, as they are set to become an official franchisor in the next three months. In the beginning of 2022, the team plans on opening another brick-and-mortar store in Atlanta, Georgia. By the end of next year, they hope to have at least 10 franchises open.